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04/12/2006

Memory

The cause

The beneficiary of this raffle is Boulder, who is, on the surface, no different from any of us.  She wants a baby, just like plenty of my friends inside the computer who haven't gotten lucky yet.  She's planning an IVF cycle and has had to get creative about financing it, much as most of us have to do when cycling — especially repeatedly — is so expensive.  And she's had more than her fair share of disappointment and loss, but then so have a lot of us.

(Oh, we do have fun, my friends inside the computer.)

But Boulder is special to me.  When Charlie was born so early, under such alarming circumstances, Boulder was the mastermind of the online baby shower many of you took part in, which I regard as the most astonishing act of kindness I've ever experienced.  For someone who's gone through so much, still with no baby to show for the years of pain, to plan a baby shower for a woman she's never met...

See, I get kind of teary every time.

When I learned Boulder was planning to do an IVF cycle with a gestational surrogate, I wanted to help.  I want her to have that damn baby.  I made a quilt.

And you!  You wanted to help, too.  1,558 chances were sold, raising a total of $7,385.23 (after PayPal took its bloody cut).

I do not know what to say.  And if you regularly read my site, you know that it is highly uncharacteristic for me to be at a loss for words.  But "                      " doesn't make much of a post, so next I'll talk a bit about the prizes.

The prizes

Scarves There's the quilt, of course, and we'll get to that.  Because there was such an enthusiastic response, I felt some additional prizes were in order.  This time around, we have bath products from Lush — made from fresh ingredients, with no animal testing, and smelling really, really nice — and gift certificates for fabulousstationery.com, whose ad frequently runs on this site.

There are also scarves, just in time for winter!

Um.

The scarves, like the quilt, are pieced from 100% cotton prints in a spectrum gradient.  They're backed with a very soft, plush polyester for warmth.  Their bright colors are guaranteed to prevent you from getting lost in a snowbank or eaten by a larger predator; not unlike the protective coloration of a poison dart frog, these scarves will dissuade any of your natural enemies from tasting you.  "Looks good," they will think, inasmuch as the more bloodthirsty larger mammals think, "but poison!"

Also suitable for draping casually over a piece of furniture, as if to say, "Bozo lives here"; restraining an angry cat who is being administered medication orally; or, in case of grievous bodily injury, fashioning a tourniquet that will soothe the patient into a peaceful psychedelic fugue state.

The quilt

QuiltfinalI started the quilt back when I was still pregnant with Charlie.  I originally intended it as a gift for Tertia, to thank her for her friendship at a time when I was scared and fragile.  I wanted it to be ready before our babies were born.  But Charlie's early birth — or as we like to call it around here, The Incident — pushed the project aside for several months.

By the time I was able to get back to it, working on it only for half an hour here and there, Tertia was home with her babies, and I knew it would be a long time before I managed to finish it.  Fast forward to January of this year, when I learned of Boulder's plans, and hatched my own scheme.

Screw Tertia, I thought.  She doesn't need a quilt.  She has babies.

(Okay, it was a little less harsh than that.)

Tertia, of course, asshole though she is, agreed that Boulder needed the quilt more than she did.  So I went back to work on it in earnest, spending long blocks of time at naptime, in the evenings, and on daycare mornings planning, cutting, sewing, and pressing.

It is by far the most elaborate quilt I've ever pieced.  Each patch is individually chosen and cut for scale, color, and value.  Many of the quilt's 1,000-plus pieces are fussy-cut, meaning that I looked carefully at a piece of fabric and cut out only the piece of the print that would work where I needed it to.  I did not use many of the time-saving cutting and piecing techniques that can make quilts go together quickly; this quilt was slow.

The main unit of the quilt is a block called memory.  I've been fascinated by this block for a few years now.  By simply changing the values of the patches, you can create any number of interesting secondary designs.  For this quilt, I chose to emphasize the lattice-like effect created by the prominent X in each block.

I also like the name of the block.  In this quilt, it means something.  It's memories of my pregnancy and the friendship that helped me through it.  It's memories of other quilts I've made or contributed to, and the friends they've been given to — the fabrics in it are also in quilts for Jo, for Mollie, for Miss W., for Blue, for Menita, and the quilt for Emily Lynne; and it contains prints I've sent to friends who are adopting for their "100 good wishes" quilts.  It's memories of the amazement I felt when we drove into our garage with Charlie in the back seat for the first time, to be gobsmacked by everything you'd sent.

Oh, blah, blah, blah, you know.  This quilt only means everything to me.

It's quilted with a double cable running diagonally through each block in colors that match.  The backing fabric is white, and the bobbin thread is in a variegated rainbow colorway, so the quilting shows well on the back.  It's bordered in several different black-on-black prints, and bound in a striped fabric that gives the illusion of a spectrum progression.

There are closeup shots of corner 1, corner 2, corner 3, and corner 4, with an enchanting cameo appearance by the strap of my camera.  There's also a close-up of the quilting.

They're all hard to give up, my quilts.  This one especially so.  There is an awful lot of love in that there quilt.

The winners

Now for the winners.  I've sent e-mail to each of you.  If you see your first name here but haven't received e-mail from me, it's probably because someone else with the same name won instead.  I am sorry.  Please take it up with your mother, who should have named you Tierrainney.

Our prizewinners are...

Winners of a $45 gift certificate for fabulousstationery.com:Lorraine and Stephanie!

Winner of a Lush "Anything But Ordinary" gift box: Cynthia!

Winner of a Lush "Happy" gift box: Cory!

Winner of a Lush "Flower Garden" gift box: Elizabeth!

Winners of a clown scarf and a $45 gift certificate for fabulousstationery.com: Amy and Brandee!  (Brandee, please contact me; the e-mail address I have for you is bouncing.)

Winner of a clown scarf and a Lush "My Fair Lady" gift box: Jennifer!

Winner of a clown scarf and a Lush "Purple Haze" gift box: Melissa!

And, winner of the quilt, Tertia!

No, wait.

An entirely different Elizabeth!

Congratulations to each of the winners.  My sincere and flabbergasted thanks to every one of you who entered.  I never expected such staggering generosity.  I am moved and inexpressibly grateful.

And ready to move on to the next big project, folding up every goddamn one of the eight million pieces of fabric I used in this quilt, which currently teeter in dangerous ceiling-high piles that threaten to engulf me in a linty avalanche every time I enter my sewing room.

If you don't hear from me soon, send help.

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